Food Tourism and Halal Concerns: Prohibited Cuisines in Islam

  January 14, 2021   Read time 2 min
Food Tourism and Halal Concerns: Prohibited Cuisines in Islam
Islam places a very strong emphasis on cleanliness in everything, especially in the context of food and drink. In Islam, eating is regarded as a matter of worship, like prayer and other religious activities. So, just as Muslims perform the ablution as a means of cleansing themselves before their daily prayers, they must also ensure Halal quality.

The Koran clearly prohibits Muslims from consuming the following categories of food: carrion, flowing blood, pork, animals that have been slaughtered with the invocation of a name other than the name of God, and alcohol. Carrion or animals that are killed by strangulation, by a blow, by a fall, by being gored, or that are partly eaten by wild animals are forbidden as food for Muslims. The eating of carrion or ‘dead animal’ is regarded as contrary to human dignity and harmful to one’s health. Islam prescribes that an (halal) animal should first be slaughtered before its consumption, in order to get rid of the blood. The Islamic method of slaughtering an animal is to cut its throat to enable as much blood to run out and not congeal in the veins. The incision is ‘made in the neck just below the glottis, cutting the throat and oesophagus, the jugular vein and the carotid artery’. This is done without cutting the spinal cord or severing the head from the body. The animal must also be completely dead before the skinning and dismembering of its body takes place. Flowing blood, which is similar to the Jewish as well as ‘the Noachian, Levitical and early Christian prohibitions of blood as a food’ is also prohibited. The consumption of blood is forbidden because, apart from being distasteful, it is also regarded as harmful for human beings. Blood carries organisms that are responsible for diseases although their clinical symptoms may not be present when they are still in the animal’s healthy living body. Separated from its body, however, these disease-carrying organisms are harmful. Pork is often associated with harm and disease in Middle Eastern societies and religions. In the Middle Eastern context pigs may be regarded as both harmful to the environment and a carrier of disease from swine to humans, particularly parasite infestations like those of the Trichinella spiralis, Echinococcus granulosis and the Taenia Solium tapeworm. Muslims in general are convinced that there is a good reason for the prohibition of pork and would regard its consumption as undesirable. Animals that have been slaughtered with the invocation of a name other than the name of God are prohibited apart from carrion, blood and pork. This type of food is associated with the practice of idolatry that Islam strictly opposes to. This prohibition also addresses the issue of halal slaughtering, in which pronouncing the name of God is a required condition while slaughtering an animal. Alcohol, whether in food or beverages, is clearly forbidden in the Koran. Islam takes an uncompromising stand in the prohibition of intoxicants and stipulates that whatever intoxicates people in large amounts is haram and forbidden in any amount, even in minute quantities.

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